Three more private high schools put on 'watch list' by education ministry
Taipei, Nov. 24 (CNA) Three more private high schools were put on a "watch list" by the Ministry of Education (MOE) after it concluded another round of review of the nation's private schools on Thursday.
The three schools -- Hung Jen Catholic Girls' High School (HJGS), Yu Min Vocational School (YMVS), and Yu-Jen Senior High School -- were put on the list because each of their "financial condition has markedly declined to the extent that the school cannot pay off its debt, or that the financial problem has seriously impacted the running of the school."
According to the related rules of the MOE, schools on the watch list will be given a two-year observation period to solve their problems, otherwise they will be ordered to close at the end of the period.
The school board of Chiayi City's HJGS had decided to merge the school with Li Jen High School in the same city in the middle of 2022, but the school board will be stripped of its management right if the school's financial condition does not improve as required, according to Yu Jung-hui (尤榮輝), president of the Union of Private School Educators.
Taitung County's Yu-Jen Senior High School is also facing a similar problem. The school is the sole elite private high school in Taitung County, which has cultivated many medical students for the county, Yu said, adding that its closure would mean a huge loss for Taitung.
The third school YMVS is in Miaoli County.
Commenting on the three schools, Yu said they were all affected by Taiwan's declining birthrate, which can be a formidable challenge for private high schools in rural areas.
Yu urged the MOE to put forward policies to address this problem, or many more schools might be confronted with a similar predicament within five years.
Meanwhile, Yu said local governments should also actively help private schools in their areas in order to "not deprive students in rural areas of the chance to change their lives."
The review was the eighth held by the MOE. In the previous seven, the MOE put seven universities and four high schools on their watch list.
Besides financial difficulties, schools will also be listed if they have unqualified teaching staff or do not pay the salary of teaching staff.
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